As we celebrate this week with Independence Day, it forces us to ask ourselves, “Did the Founding Fathers follow a survival of the hive philosophy?”
Outgunned, outmanned, and out resourced against Britain, the Founding Fathers had a few things going for them: resourcefulness, determination, courage, and a passion to survive. In the face of terrible odds they were able to form the foundations of one of the world’s most impressive hives. With that being said, the question of whether the Founding Fathers had some sort of survival of the hive philosophy would most likely be answered, “Yes!” Here’s why:
Survival of the Hive:
In the formation of the Republic and in signing the Declaration of Independence, the Founders pledged to one another, “our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.” The leadership principle of sacrifice is something the Founders understood all too well. They understood that sacrificial leadership is selfless, not self-serving. The commitment made over 200 years ago reminds us that no great accomplishment comes without sacrifice and that causes greater than oneself are the lasting ones. Likewise the survival of the hive philosophy is an obsession with what is good for the whole organization over what is good for any person, department or team. Leadership helps define “due north” so everyone is committed to the greater purpose, direction, and philosophy.
Unity of Purpose:
It was through persecution, hardships, and struggles whereby the Founders rallied and mutually pledged their “reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” in declaring our independence. The Founders were a people of clear purpose and mission.
“There is nothing more important for you as a leader than the survival of the hive, ” Strategy begins to teach Zync in Survival of the Hive. “You must be single-minded in this purpose, Zync. This is not about the bee culture molding to your leadership preferences but about your leadership molding to the purpose and culture of the hive.”
Every bee in the hive understands the significance of keeping the colony alive and healthy as a way to ensure their future. They are not confused about their number one priority – survival of the hive.
The Colony Culture:
It was through teamwork and creating a colony culture that the declaration was written, the war was fought, the constitution was enacted and the U.S. came into being. In the book, The Founding Fathers on Leadership: Classic Teamwork in Changing Times, the author points out, “Clearly, the founding fathers cleverly and shrewdly designed democracy to foster the art and process of leadership…treating people with respect and dignity; raise awareness; creating a vision and involving others; bonding together through alliances and teamwork; risking all; learning from mistakes; refusing to lose; inspiring rather than coercing; listening; compromising; caring; ever changing and ever achieving.”
Likewise in Survival of the Hive, Zync’s mentor Strategy points out, “Your role is to build the colony culture and provide direction and reason to the colony. But you must also trust your bees to do the work they know how to do. You send out the ‘what needs to be done’ and ‘why it needs to get done’ messages. They determine the ‘how it will be done.’ It is a great relationship of trust between the queen and her followers. It is a relationship built upon transparency, reliance on one another and an unwavering commitment to the common goal to see the hive survive.”
Zync recognizes as the leader that she sets the tone for a colony culture of teamwork, shared roles and responsibilities, and commitment to a strong work ethic and common purpose. She provides direction and trusts that others are equally capable of performing the tasks that need to get done. She supports the uniqueness of her role and the uniqueness of every other role in the hive.
A strong colony culture is a culture of collaboration, cooperation, and trust that happens uniformly and automatically at every place within the organization. There is an unbending belief that being “in colony” will produce something exceptional, far greater than doing it alone. The beehive honeycomb pattern exemplifies this concept of being interdependent and united.
As we often ask you to do on Independence Day, take a moment or two and reflect on the sacrificial leadership that provided us with the great opportunities we have today. How could we be more like the Founding Fathers? What can we learn from their humility and selfless leadership? How do we transcribe those great leadership traits onto our work today?
Pick up a copy of the Survival of the Book: 7 Leadership Lessons From a Beehive published by Authorhouse Publishing.